Hi, welcome to this week's podcast with me, Pete Clark, the whispers guy. This could turn into a little bit of a rant. So apologies in advance. But as I've been working with clients, individually, collectively, probably more post the sort of lock down period of COVID den and over in a COVID, Shadow of some sorts with all sorts of things going on. And, you know, a year ago, clients were saying, you know, we're really busy, who can't get any busier. And here we are six 912 months later, oh, my God, how, how is it even busier than we thought it was. And it's within that context that I want to share with you what I think is a very simple and don't let this simplicity put you off the impact. But a very simple way that I think cumulatively is going to provide some competitive advantage for you, whether that's in you individually, as a team, or some other corporate competitor. And it's based on an intentional, and I really mean, intentional, so deliberate conscious learning. And I know if I asked all of you, if you serve in many organisations, and many people do like to learn, the answer would be yes. Often our learning is consumed as a stream of consciousness, or it's in written or audio, or it's, you know, digestible chunks. And whilst that's not necessarily a bad thing, I don't think it's the intentionality behind it. But I think if you were to practice some of these three really small, interdependent steps on a consistent basis, it would put daylight between you and your previous self, it would put daylight between you, and a competitor of yours. And so I'm going to share with them, I'm going to share with you what they are. The first step is so obvious. And it's gonna seem obvious when I say that step one is simply you've got to work on something. And when in conversation with clients and teams, individuals when I ask what they're working on, and you know how long you've been working on that, and I've been working on that for a while, which suggests they haven't really been working on it. They've been pondering it. They've been considering it. They've been on occasions slapped into awareness, because an events happened. And it's sparked that awareness of Yeah, I need to get better at whatever the skill or capability is, it might be having difficult conversations, and like presenting to boards, it might be giving and/or receiving feedback. It might be acknowledging the past whilst focusing on the future, maybe asking better questions, whatever it is, whatever the task, this third, the skill or the capabilities, you have to work on something, it's likely that our experience will teach us, it's likely that our experience will help us develop and grow. Although it probably happens, despite ourselves, it probably happens, perhaps more unintentionally than we think. So if you're looking to gain some competitive advantage, I'm suggesting you reverse that and not only benefit from the unintentional growth anyway. But putting yourself in the space of intention or growth. And the obvious first step is to consciously and intentionally focus on getting better at something. Now, a double click on that is the mistake I see people make often is they make it too big. I want to be a better leader on and be a better presenter, want to be a better manager wouldn't be a better something. And whilst that's a lofty, admirable, worthwhile thing to point towards, the working on, it is just too vague. Our brain actually prefers something really specific, almost as specific as you can.
And I've said this so many times to so many people. Forgive me if you've heard this before, hopefully my act as a reminder, if I asked you who's listening or even watching, if I was going to build a new habit in getting better at something, and I use the metaphor of pushups, and I said, am I better doing one pushup a day for 100 days? Or am I better be doing 100 Push ups in one goal, everyone always says you're much better in building a habit and doing one pushup over 100 days so you get the compound benefit. Now you might not get necessarily more strength in doing one pushup a day for 100 days. days. But the compound effect of that is it builds a habit. It builds a behaviour, it builds a way of acting and possibly even an identity, that I'm someone that does pushups, I'm someone that can do push ups, that can then lead to you doing more volume, that will actually build the strength. But if you don't build the habit necessarily, or you see building the habit of doing 100, a day for 100 days, most of us can't cope with that motivation, or through the injury or the time, investment and so on. So step number one, yes, you have to work on something that's obvious. And the subtext of that is as specific as possible. I want to ask better questions at the end of a meeting, I want to, in my one on one conversations, be more present. Anything that's much more specific. So the narrower the context, you can drive, the better.
The second step, and you can really only do the second step, if you do the first step. The second step, you actually have to work on it. I know that sounds, well tell us something we don't know, Pete, it sounds ridiculous that I'd be advising you actually do the work. But of the many people that I speak to online, face to face, individuals, teams, organisations, most are relatively good. And they understand the philosophy and the benefit of setting goals and choosing something to work on. And here's my development plan, and here's what I'm gonna get great at. Life then gets in the way, focus then gets in the way, Challenge gets in the way, motivation or a lack of intention, or a lack of space gets in the way. And so often, step two is either taken in quick bursts or not taking it on. And so we end up six months, nine months, 12 months later, I should have worked on that I said I was going to do that. I said I was going to achieve that. But we rarely take step two. So the interdependence for me is if you can make step one really specific, one pushup, what's your version of one pushup? The step two is that you are doing that one pushup metaphor, I'm going to ask one open question, as I walk through the door, I'm going to do a five minute plan for every presentation I do. Maybe once a week, I'm going to do something that's so small, you'd almost go, well, that's easy, I can do that. So that's step two. So step one is you have to work on something, step two. So step one, you have to pick something to work on step two, you actually have to work on it.
Step three, you can only do if you do step two. And you can only do step two, if you do step one, step three, is you have to make the thing you're working on visible to those that might need to see it. Now obviously, if this is a personal, something personal you're doing, and no one else needs to see it. But in most of our jobs and corporate positions, the development that we demonstrate often can lead to promotion opportunities, different role opportunities, you know, extra reward and incentive for us developing or fixing potentially. And so this third step around visibility is making sure that those that need to see it are primed to see it. And because we will often have perceptions about people, they may have a perception of you Pete is a... Pete is not a... However you want to finish the sentence. And so to try and shift their perception, we have to make the thing you're doing assuming you're doing step two, as visible as possible. So let's say a really simple example. You you set yourself a development goal of asking two strategic questions, even they're repeated in your team meetings. And you asked a couple of confidonts, a couple of colleagues, I'd like you to watch out, I'd like you to watch out when I asked these questions. Now, assuming you do ask them, you might ask at the end of that meeting. Did you observe that? Did you see me? Did you hear me ask the questions. It's very possible they've gone? No, perhaps because they weren't looking for it. They weren't expecting you to ask those strategic questions. So rinse and repeat. You go again next time. You might tell them specifically, I'm going to ask them at the beginning or the middle or the end or you've looked at the agenda and I'm going to ask them around those topics. You maybe even if you're going to sit next to them, you might give them a nudge just before you ask them. And the reason I'm suggesting this is because if you can prime the brain of those that need to see the visibility of what you're doing, they're more likely to see it done, assuming you are doing it. So assuming you are asking those strategic questions at the right time in the right place, for the right reason, and you prime the brains of those that need to see it, they were more likely to see it. And assuming you continue that, then six months, nine months 12. And however long later, when asked, is Pete better at asking strategic questions? The answer is often well, yeah, he does it all the time now, because you've primed their brain to see you as someone that asks strategic questions.
So each of the steps are really important for intentional growth. But if you're not picking something to work on, if you're not actually working on it deliberately, specifically, consciously, intentionally, and you're not making it visible for those that need to see it demonstrated, it's very hard to be seen as someone who intentionally grows. And my premise, my guess, my assumption is this, if you and your team over a period of six, nine, twelve months, were to intentionally grow in one or two specific areas, it would put daylight between you and your competition. And the reason I can say that quite confidently, or be anecdotally and when no science to back this up, is because when I am chatting with individuals and teams, nobody does it. Nobody does it intentionally. Nobody does it deliberately. Nobody does it consistently. And we know you'll have heard on many podcasts and other things that you've read that consistency seems to Trump intensity. So that metaphorical one pushup a day, making those that need to see visibly, I'm about to do my push up, watch this, metaphorically, obviously, you are more likely to end up bigger, better, faster, stronger, whatever the achievement is.
So I thought I would share that with you. It's been showing up almost in every conversation I've been part of. And it's really these three interdependent steps. If you want to intentionally grow, you have to pick something to work on as specific as possible. You have to actually work on it. The one pushup metaphor, and then the third step is making it visible to those that need to see it.
I'm Pete Clark, your whispers guy, if you've enjoyed this conversation, please sign up for my weekly whisper is at 21whispers.com and we'd be grateful for any reviews where you review your podcasts. Thanks very much.